Through the incredible kindness of a Digital Tibetan Buddhist Altar reader, who drove eight hours down to the desert to fetch me, I was able to travel yet another two hours further south, to a place called Rowland Heights: to the multimillion dollar home of a Chinese family from Beijing.
Arriving in the backyard of said home, I found four rabbits existing in absolutely terrible, terrible conditions. I removed them immediately, and brought them home, and you see them here in their triage cages, as I start to work with them.
Pictured above is the head troublemaker -- the Daddy -- who has lived on for two years eating nothing but lettuce; spoiled lettuce at that, got from the garbage bins of nearby grocery stores. Now, it was 108.5 F up in the desert, and down at Rowland Heights it was maybe running 95F to 100F, but he was housed in a dark, stinking, noisy, chicken coop with no water. He was prostrate in his cage, panting heavily, rolling over on his side.
Now, here is where it starts to get ugly. I asked the young lady of the house, together with her mother, why none of the rabbits had any water. I was told that they "Get enough water from the lettuce."
Above are the "Two Sisters." The rabbit in the back has been terribly traumatized, and is constantly protected by her sister. I do not know if she will ever be restored. They were in the cage below the male rabbit -- in the same filthy chicken coop, surrounded by aggressive, noisy chickens, who pecked at the rabbits through the cages. The hind legs of the Two Sisters are dyed green from permanently standing in layers of wet lettuce.
This Little Stinker is six weeks old, the son of the male rabbit pictured above. His mother died in childbirth. He was kept in the same horrible conditions, but in the bottom cage, so the chickens could reach him easier. He was dehydrating, almost at the point of death. When he peed on me, his urine was so hot as to scalding.
None of these rabbits know how to eat rabbit food. None of these rabbits know how to get water from a water bottle. They are so scared and traumatized that they will not even take water from a water bowl.
I am concentrating on the Little Stinker and the Shy Sister first. I think Daddy and Big Sister will pull through O.K., so they come next. Of the four, I think Shy Sister has the worst chance of survival, followed by Little Stinker.
How can people of obvious wealth -- considerable wealth -- and the ability to care lavishly for themselves, stoop so low as to leave these rabbits in squalid conditions? They spoke roughly to the rabbits, saying many callous things that led me to believe they thought of the rabbits as mere playthings, upon which to vent their wicked impulses.
I feel so sorry for those people.
So, I am occupied caring for these poor critters, and I hope I can save them all.